All posts by Swap Shop

A Guide To Thrifting Your Home Decor

Summer is the time when homeowners are more likely to take on home renovations and remodels. With that comes a need to find new decor for your home. But if you just spent a lot of money renovating your space, you may not have a large budget left for decor. Or maybe you’re just in need of some fun things to do this weekend. That’s where thrifting comes in. Thrifting home decor is a great way to find beautiful decor and fill your space without completely clearing out your wallet. Whether you’re a beginner to thrifting or are a thrifting pro, here is a guide with some tips and tricks you can apply to score some awesome thrift store finds.

Benefits Of Thrifting

There are quite a few benefits that come with thrifting that you may be unaware of. Besides saving money, making the choice to thrift home decor can have a big impact. Here are some of the benefits that come with scoring those awesome thrift store finds:

  1. You’ll Save Money: This is the most well known benefit of thrifting. The rush of finding awesome thrift store finds for great deals is enough to get people going back over and over. Thrifting your home decor will save you a lot of money which means you can save for a big piece item or spend more on your home renovation.
  2. Reusing And Recycling Is Better For The Environment: Thrifting is not only great for your wallet, is good for the environment. Choosing to purchase items that have already been loved by another owner means you are keeping plastic out of landfills. Taking home awesome thrift store finds also positively contributes to decreasing textile demand around the world and cutting down on the subsequent waste.
  3. You’ll Find Unique Items: Another great benefit from scoring awesome thrift store finds is that you’re finding a unique item for your home decor. If you were to purchase an item from a major retail store, that same item would be found in hundreds, maybe even thousands of homes across the country. When you buy an item from a thrift store, you’re getting something unique for your space. For example, if you’re getting ready for fall decorating, you could find vintage baskets and signs from a thrift store that no one else will have in their home decor this season.

1. Check the Quality

The number one thing you need to remember when you’re thrifting is to check the quality. Oftentimes people make the mistake of getting an item that really isn’t in good shape or that they don’t need just because it’s a good deal. You’re going to see a lot of awesome thrift store finds, but not all of them are things you need. As you are searching through items at the thrift store, be picky. Look for signs of wear and tear. Is it something you actually need, or just something you want? Often, you buy something with the intent to “upcycle” it. There are a lot of items sitting in garages and attics across the country that were purchased with the intent to be upcycled.

For example, if you’re looking for a table or chairs, you’re going to have to be very picky. There is a lot of wooden furniture at thrift stores but it’s not always in good quality or a good deal. Check for water stains, cracked wood, and any other significant signs of wear. To take something home, you need to be confident that it’s going to hold up for some time to come.

2. Think Outside The Box

While you need to be picky when sorting through items at the thrift store, you also need to have an open mind. You may not always find exactly what you’re looking for, but you may find an item that will work for the same purpose. For example, one popular “outside the box” use for old doors or windows is to create a greenhouse in your backyard. Especially if you can find french doors, you can use an unlikely item to create a beautiful new thing.

You may also be able to use old metal containers for planters or flat baskets for wall decor. Keep an open mind as you search for the specific items you need. But remember to keep in mind the previous tip, be picky with what you choose, and unless you are specifically planning to upcycle an item, don’t get things that “have potential”.

3. Haggle

This tip should only be used at specific locations. Haggling can really help you to get a more reasonable price on some big scale or even small items, depending on where you’re shopping. But you should not try to haggle at stores with set prices, such as the Goodwill or Salvation Army. Rather, if you’re at a flea market or yard sale, haggling is more acceptable and maybe even expected. Here are a few tips for successful haggling:

  • Don’t dress is designer or high-quality clothes. If you look “rich” people won’t want to offer a discount.
  • Be friendly with the seller. Say hello when you get to their booth. The nicer you are, the more likely they are to work with you on the price.
  • Don’t low ball the seller. If you start with a price that’s way too low, they will shut down and won’t want to discuss anymore or be flexible.
  • Point out flaws you may find. If you show the seller a scratch or dent in an item, they may be more likely to offer you a discount.

As you search for new home additions for your decor, don’t forget to use these haggling tips and get the best price possible.

4. Leave Pride At The Door

If you’re planning on thrifting, you’ll need to leave your pride at the door. Buying used items doesn’t mean you’re poor or can’t afford brand name, new items. It just means you know how to be frugal and where to save money. Some people that try to thrift decor for their public spaces, like their desks in an office, fall victim to the office culture that new is better. As long as you follow the tips listed here, you’ll be able to find great quality items for a great price. No need to feel embarrassed about it.

5. Visit The Store Often

If you want to come across some awesome thrift store finds, be ready to visit the thrift store often. Most people donate items on the weekends when they have time to make a trip there. Different stores restock on different days and times, some once a week, some multiple times a week. You may think about asking the thrift store employees what days and times they bring out new items. If you know the restocking schedule you’ll be able to plan to visit the store those days and times so you can be one of the first people to look through the new times.

6. Take Advantage Of Sales

While you’re already getting a great deal by shopping for items at a thrift store, don’t pass up on the opportunity to shop the thrift store sales. Many thrift stores have big sales on specific holidays each year where you can save a huge percentage on certain types of items, or even any item in the store. While there will likely be a lot more people in the store on those days, don’t pass up on the opportunity.

Your local thrift store may also have weekly sales where items with certain colored tags are on sale. Figure out what the sale schedule is for your local store so you can plan to be there at those times. Some chain thrift stores like the Goodwill of the Salvation Army even have days each week where certain colored tags are 50% off. If you’re trying to decorate a room or even finishing a basement, take advantage of these sales days to stock up on furniture and home decor.

7. Don’t Forget About Virtual Thrifting

According to Business Insider, 40% of men between 18 and 34 years of age prefer to shop online for all of their needs, and the percentage from women is likely higher. Shopping online is much easier for people as they can browse and order things directly from the comfort of their couch. Don’t forget to take advantage of online thrifting opportunities. These include sites such as Facebook marketplace, craigslist, and OfferUp.

Physical locations may be better for shopping for small decor items and clothing as you can try on and dig through more options, but for getting more expensive or big-ticket items such as large furniture, or electronics like printer products, these sources are a great option. You can often set notifications if you are looking or a specific type of item. For example, if you’re trying to find a mid-century modern sofa, anytime someone posts one for sale, you can be notified right away so you have a better chance of scoring it.

You can sometimes even buy lightly-used items from stores on amazon which is a great option if you don’t have transportation and need to have things shipped to your home.

8. Be Willing to Dig

When you go on a thrifting trip, be ready to dig. Many thrifters have discovered awesome thrift store finds just by sorting through a pile of knick-knacks. Sometimes people will hide something they found with the intent to come back later to get it and then never return. That means a great item is hidden in a section it doesn’t belong in and if you’re patient enough you may be the one to rediscover it.

For example, if you’re searching for camping gear such as soft side coolers, cots, or camping utensils, someone may have previously had the same intentions, found something great, and hid it. An employee of the thrift store may even have placed it in the wrong section. Take some time to sort through items in other sections to make sure you’re not missing any awesome thrift store finds.

9. Look For Brand Names

When you’re thrifting, another key to success is to look out for brand name items. Even if it’s not something you were specifically looking for yourself if it’s a good brand and in good shape, you could flip the item for a significant chunk of money. Some people even make a business of flipping brand name items from thrift stores. You may even discover some awesome thrift store finds for yourself. Brand name items often tend to last longer so if you can find some good quality brand name furniture or decor for your home, you’ve scored.

10. Go With Ideas In Mind

One of the best things you can do when you’re planning a thrifting trip is prepare ahead. This could be making a list of the specific things you will be looking for. You could also use pictures for inspiration for types of items you’ll keep an eye out for. Just like making a grocery list, thrifting is more successful when you can keep an eye on the target. There are so many little knick-knacks and awesome thrift store finds, you can get off track very quickly. By having a list of ideas ahead of time, you’ll be able to more effectively sort through everything and find what you’re looking for.

In Conclusion

If you’re in need of home decor for a newly renovated home or just want to switch things up, thrifting is the best way to get bang for your buck. As long as you are ready to be picky about what you bring home, spend some time digging, and thing outside the box, you’re likely to score some awesome thrift store finds. Don’t forget to apply the other tips mentioned above on your next thrifting trip. Happy thrifting!

The Benefits And Importance Of Shopping Local

If you’re out shopping in your local community, odds are good you’re heard about the importance of shopping local.

Buy local!

Shop local!

Keep your dollars local!

You’ve likely heard some variation of all of those slogans or sayings and you probably do a good job of shopping local. That might include shopping at a local grocer, visiting a local coffee shop, or having your kids play on a local sports team.

But even if you do a good job of shopping local, have you ever thought about why it’s important? Have you ever thought about where your money goes after you spend it or what it’s used for. Businesses, like many of your town’s Mom and Pop shops with fewer than 500 employees, make up more than 99% of the jobs in the U.S. and buying local is important for the survival of those small shops. Not only is it important, but there are many benefits to buying local:

Helping The Economy

The biggest thing to remember about the importance of shopping local is that when you buy local, the money stays local. Let’s say you’re an avid golfer and you frequently visit your local golf courses to play with a group of friends. When you spend your money at one of the local courses, it goes toward paying for upkeep of the course, paying employees, helping to upkeep the pro shop, and the restaurant inside.

Without your patronage, businesses like those golf courses might not be able to offer some basic amenities and rates might go up as a result, or some amenities may be eliminated altogether. By spending your money there, you’re helping a local business prosper, becoming more connected to your town and helping to create jobs.

Supporting Your Neighbors

By keeping your money in the local economy, you’re not only helping businesses, you’re also helping folks in your town. Let’s say for instance you have a neighbor who’s a dentist in your town. If you’re friendly with that neighbor, you’re able to develop a rapport with that neighbor and you’ll have no trouble visiting them for your dentistry needs.

If you need a reminder about the importance of shopping local, look no further than your medical professionals. It’s not only practical to get established with local professionals, but it’s also easy to establish trust and a high level of comfort with them. Think about it, do you want to go to the best orthodontist in town who lives down the street from you and knows your family? Or do you want to go out of town to see someone who you don’t have quite the same relationship with?

When you can establish a rapport and feel comfortable with your fellow townspeople, it makes it much easier to shop local. If your car needs fixing and your neighbor is a mechanic, you’ll have no problem taking the car to them for repairs. If you know where local food is grown and harvested, you’ll eagerly support local farmers at a farmer’s market. By buying local, you help families, help them pay their bills, and help keep their business going.

Better Service

There are plenty of good reasons to buy local, but one of the best reasons is that you get faster and better service. This is especially true when it comes to repairs.

In the dog days of summer, it’s important to have functioning air conditioning to keep yourself cool. If you’re in need of heating and air conditioning installations, you’re obviously going to want someone who can do the job well. By staying local, you can easily find a place that’s close, so you’ll be able to get an air conditioner installed in a few days rather than a few weeks.

You’ll also be able to get plenty of good recommendations from friends and neighbors. If you notice your neighbor has a certain kind of air conditioner that you want, they can recommend a local place so you get the exact same one. Not only will you be getting a good product, but you’ll be getting excellent service.

Establishing Rapport

The importance of shopping local can’t be understated. It does a great deal to help your community, but it also helps you establish rapport.

Think about your usual shopping habits. Do you go to the farmer’s market for specific items? Do you have a market that sells a particular product you like, such as meat? If you frequent these places a lot and give them your business, those employees will come to recognize you and establish a relationship. Why is that important? When you go for fruits and vegetables or meat, they might set some aside for you if they know you’re coming in. They might also offer you some deals or discounts if you’re a frequent customer. By patronizing their business and being generous, they might be more than willing to be generous right back.

Saving money

Pumping money into your community can stimulate the local economy, but it can also help you save money.

Let’s say you need to repair roof leaks after a harsh winter. You can shop around and get estimates for what the repairs might cost, but you likely won’t find better deals than at your local shops. Your local shops will offer better, faster service and won’t try to load you up with extra fees.

By supporting and trusting local businesses, they will in turn trust you to spend your money with them if you need any help in the future. In this way, one good turn deserves another. If you keep your money local, local contractors will be willing to work with you when it comes to getting the most for your money. If you’re on a budget, they’ll suggest ways you can get the repairs or renovations you need at a price you can afford. If you’re footing a particularly large bill, those businesses will work with you on payments, especially if they know your character.

Quality

The importance of shopping local is about more than spending money; it’s about supporting your friends and neighbors because you know you’re going to get quality products and services. If you need your pet groomed, for example, you can take it to a local groomer armed with the knowledge that they will do a good job. If you’re looking to have some work done on your house, such as a home addition, you can check up on the quality of local renovation companies by checking out other homes in your area.

That quality might also extend to something as important as rodent and squirrel removal from your home. Local exterminators will know exactly how prevalent certain critters are in your area and the best methods for removing them, all while offering fair estimates and excellent customer service.

Comfort

While the importance of shopping local can’t be understated, neither can having a good level of comfort as a buyer. Simply put, when you buy something, you want to feel good about the product or service you bought and you want to feel confident you’re not getting swindled.

Comfort as a consumer can range from buying food to having medical procedures performed. If you live in a small town, odds are good you have one or two doctors in town, who have taken care of everyone you know. With that degree of experience (and referrals from friends and neighbors), you know you’ll be in good hands whether you need a simple operation or an advanced procedure. So you won’t ever have to worry about a problem such as medical malpractice because you’ll always be in good hands.

Looking Out For You

Another benefit of staying local with your money is that your friends and neighbors will have your best interests in mind. That means they’ll also be looking out for your family. If you’re looking for the best dentist for kids for example, your local dentist is likely someone you know. That means they’ll be willing to take the time to show your child or children that the dentist office is a friendly place and about the importance of taking care of your teeth.

Helping Your Community On A Human Level

If you need a reminder about the importance of shopping local, think about the human impact of your money rather than just the financial impact. Let’s say you need a fence put up around your ride or maybe a fence repair to mend some broken posts or backer rails. When you hire a local contractor, yes you’re giving them your business and keeping your money in the local economy.

But your money makes more of an impact than that. You may not know it, but your money goes toward more than just that company’s bills. When you spend your money locally, your money might go toward dance lessons or new braces or sports equipment or it might help to sponsor a local school club’s trip. You can’t make that same sort of impact when you shop at big box stores or chains. By spending your money locally, you’re making a human investment that may well impact more than just the place you’re doing business with.

Accessibility

Another advantage of shopping local is that you have fairly easy access to goods and services when you need help. If you have an issue with your home surveillance system and security cameras, for example, you can easily visit a local shop and have the company help you quickly. The same is true if you have problems with your air conditioning or plumbing or need help renovating. You won’t get that kind of access from out-of-town companies and you can be assured you’ll get fantastic customer service when you buy local.

Getting To Know Your Town

You hear all the time about the importance of shopping local, but you should consider doing it for no other reason it helps you get to know your town. If you’re new in town, this is a great way to get to know your surroundings.

By shopping local and shopping around, you never know what you might find. You might find an amazing local artist, who’s work you can buy and hang in your new house. You might find one of the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten at a local restaurant. You might find a great bar with amazing drinks and live music that you can make one of your favorite haunts.

By shopping around, you’ll learn more about the importance of shopping local and you’ll get to know folks in your town. You’ll get to know your local coffee shop purveyors, who can make your coffee just the way you like it. You’ll get to know your local law enforcement and first responders, who can help you in times of emergency. You’ll get to know local artists, who can do commission paintings. You’ll meet the folks who run community organizations, so you’ll know who to talk to if you want to volunteer.

Making An Impact

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying from a farmer’s market or buying from a local grocer or enlisting the help of a local concept design engineering company to help you develop designs for a product. By keeping your money in your local economy, your supporting your community, helping your friends and neighbors, getting quality goods and services and getting a level of customer service you won’t find anywhere else.

So next time you see the signs about the importance of shopping local or buying local, consider how much good you can do with your money. You’re helping your friends and neighbors on a business level, but you’re also helping them on a human level that’s more important than money. By spending money locally, you’re helping your community thrive, whether you’re buying coffee, playing nine on a local golf course or eating at a local restaurant.

The Right Time to Use Cotton Bags

Bags are universally used to carry items around, and a common scenario for bag use is when a person has gone shopping. Most often today, grocery stores and other stores make use of thin plastic bags, since such bags are very lightweight, affordable in large numbers, and have become the industry standard. Many billions of plastic bags are used every year, but these bags have come under some scrutiny. It has become abundantly clear that these cheap, plastic bags are quite harmful for the natural environment, and many “go green” initiatives call for replacing them with cotton or nylon alternatives. A grocery store may take part in this and find cotton tote bags wholesale online to purchase from suppliers. A store owner may search “cotton tote bags wholesale Los Angeles CA” or “cotton tote bags wholesale Boston MA” to find a local supplier. And that’s not all. Cotton tote bags wholesale supplies are purchased by companies, Continue reading The Right Time to Use Cotton Bags

When to Give Away Your Old Clothes

The textiles industry is one of the largest in the entire world, and is responsible for creating bedding, table linens, and of course, clothing of all sorts. Everyone around the world needs clothes wear, may they be everyday shirts and pants all the way to heavy coats, formal wear, and work and military uniforms and safety vests. The United States in particular is the world’s largest single producer and consumer alike for clothing, and today, Americans are buying twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago. The average American woman has one outfit for every day of the month, compared to just nine in 1930. Old clothes are recyclable, and Americans are urged to give them to military charities and veterans charities, among other needy individuals. Aside from time and gas money, it is free for any person to donate clothes, for helping families in need. Americans have a charitable spirit year round, but clothing is also known for often being thrown away instead. How can more clothe Continue reading When to Give Away Your Old Clothes

The Right Clothes for Outdoor Expeditions

Americans largely live urban and indoor lifestyles in today’s towns and cities, but we have not entirely forgotten our natural roots. The great outdoors, as many call it, has proven popular among many Americans for all sorts of activities and sports, and studies show that being surrounded by nature is good for the body and mind. The human mind is highly attuned to its own and the body’s needs, and it often rewards healthy behavior in many unexpected ways. In fact, a person may have their stress levels greatly lowered and experience peace of mind when surrounded by nature, such as a forest. In fact, the Japanese have the term Shinrin-yoku for this, or “forest bathing,” and for good reason. Being surrounded by nature can provide similar results to any modern medication, without the cost. In many ways, medication is redundant with natural exposure and remedies already available. A person needs only pack up their things, wear the right outdoor clothes, and quite literally take a h Continue reading The Right Clothes for Outdoor Expeditions

How to Choose the Right Jewelry Designer

In a world where the number of jewelers is staggering, it can be said that that customers stand to benefit since they have so many options to choose from when they are purchasing custom jewelry. However, finding the right designing jewelers is easier said than done especially if you are making your jewelry purchase for the first time. For starters, you want to work with someone who can bring out your personal style in custom jewelry design. Some jewelry that you might be buying will probably be bought once. Things like engagement rings should stand out to make the moment memorable which is why few people would be willing to compromise on quality when it comes to such pieces of jewelry. This means you will definitely be looking for designing jewelers who know and understand their craft such as working with different precious metals to deliver beautiful jewelry. Whereas the search for good designi Continue reading How to Choose the Right Jewelry Designer

What You Need To Know About Tactical And Heavy Duty Clothing

Tactical gear and heavy duty apparel, from eleven 10 to Danner and beyond, has many purposes – and some of them might not even be what you think. Eleven 10, for instance, is used for police work and other work where the people involved in the work will need an extra layer of protection. In addition to this, however, police officers will not just use eleven 10 gear but specialty durable boots instead, and these durable boots are such that they can be used in may various applications.

For instance, hiking boots are often very similar to the lightweight boots used by military personnel or even police officers. Hiking boots are essential for any difficult hike, providing stability and the ability to be surefooted that other shoes just can’t give. Hiking boots will also provide a great deal of protection from the environment, from weather conditions to animal and insect life to even plants that have grown along the hi Continue reading What You Need To Know About Tactical And Heavy Duty Clothing

One of the Most Popular Gifts Throughout the Year Flower Bouquets

Flowers are a great gift available to different loved ones on many different holidays. Specialty floral arrangements are able to offer a quality message for almost any event or occasion. These include funerals, holidays, weddings, and more. The purchase of these flower bouquets made from florists, supermarkets, retail locations, and online. Therefore, it is easy to find this wonderful gift for your family and friends at almost any time from anywhere.

Flower Bouquets
Luckily, a floral gift does not have to be expensive, no matter the occasion. From birthdays to Valentine’s Day, flowers are a gift that provides a quality message every day of the year. They can be a generous and emotional gift bouquet of sympathy flowers for a funeral, providing comfort to those who have lost a loved one. Another one of the most common specialty flowers for weddings, from bouquets and table arrangements, combined.

The United S Continue reading One of the Most Popular Gifts Throughout the Year Flower Bouquets

A Look At Choosing Your Jewelry Here In The United States

Sea glass can commonly be found on many a beach here in the United States, and actually comes in a considerable amount of variety as well – something that many people might not realize. For instance, most people are most familiar with the blue and green types of sea glass – which are by and large the most common. When it comes to finding sea glass on a beach, you are likely to find these hues in at least half of all of the sea glass pieces that you are able to find.

But blue and green and even aqua sea glass is not the only sea glass out there in the world and even found in this country. Other colors, though more rare, make quite beautiful kinds of sea glass indeed. For instance, orange sea glass is a favorite of many, even though it will typically be found only once out of every 1,000 or so pieces of sea glass that are discovered. For many people, this makes orange sea glass even more valuable.

Sea glass has become quite popular all throughout the United States, and many peo Continue reading A Look At Choosing Your Jewelry Here In The United States

How to Decorate Wedding Reception Tables

Many couples wish to celebrate their love for each other by getting married. In fact, research shows that 2.4 million weddings are performed each year throughout the United States. While this is meant to be a joyous event, many brides and grooms feel stressed out while planning their weddings. WeddingWire’s 2017 Newlywed Report found that 63% of brides feel a lot of pressure to ensure that their weddings are perfect. In order to achieve this goal, you’re going to need to do a bit of planning. With that in mind, here’s how to set up tables for your wedding reception.

Preparing to Setup Tables

Before doing anything else, it’s important to measure the tables at your wedding reception location. Obtaining these measurements ensures that you’ll avoid the problem of purchasing the wrong sized tablecloths. Fortunately, you’ll only need a tape measure to obtain these measurements. While planning a wedding, certain couples might be under pressure from fast approaching deadlines. Th Continue reading How to Decorate Wedding Reception Tables